If you want the truth about your company, ask people on the way out. Exit interviews can deliver important inside information. The way departing employees view your organization might be the way things really are. Below is an exit interview questionnaire you can print and give to staff members who are leaving. But first, a few points:

1. Engage third-party interviewers.
Many departing employees don’t want to burn bridges or sour an ex-employer against them. One way to get them to open up is to have a third party conduct exit interviews. You can likely engage a human resources consultant or temp for this purpose. You might even allow employees to remain anonymous to encourage them to provide more detailed feedback.

2. Dig to the heart of the matter.
It isn’t enough to just ask employees why they’re leaving. You often have to probe, as illustrated by the questions below.

3. Scrutinize the comments collectively.
Individual exit interviews can be interesting but, when viewed together, they tend to take shape as a powerful management tool. Exit interviews can reveal the “why” of high turnover. For example, you might discover that one department’s turnover problems are largely attributable to a manager with poor people skills. You can then send that manager for additional training. Or you might find that long commutes are driving people away and decide to add telecommuting options or flexible schedules so employees can escape rush hour. Departing employees can be important agents for change. Use the opportunity to help your company improve. 

Employee Exit Questionnaire Employee Name _________________________ Department________ Date______ 1. Why are you leaving the company? Rank the reasons that apply (start with 1 as the most important). Pay ___ Job Promotion ___ More convenient hours ___Fellow employees ___ Personal reasons ___ Less responsibility___More responsibility ___ Type of work___ Supervisor___Office environment___ Commuting distance___Other (specify)___________________________________________________ 2. If you’re going to work for another company, what are they offering you that we aren’t?__________________________________________________________ 3. Please rate the following as Outstanding (1); Above Average (2); Average (3); or Fair (4): Quality of our products/services _____ Competence of staff and management _____ Opportunities for advancement _____ Training _____ Compensation and fringe benefits _____ 4. Was your workload a problem (too much or too little)? ______________________________________________________ 5. Did you have the support (people, equipment, technology) to be as effective as possible? _______________________________________________________6. What did you like best about your job? _______________________________________________________7. What was most frustrating?_________________________________________________________8. In what areas could you have benefited from training? ________________________________________________________9. Would you recommend our company to prospective employees? _______________________________________________________ 10. Would you recommend our company to potential customers?________________________________________________________Please share any other comments that will help us be a model employer in the future.______________________________________________________________________

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